S&P expects India’s economy to contract 9pc in fiscal 2021

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BENGALURU: S&P Global Ratings said on Monday that it was expecting India’s economy to shrink by 9pc in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, larger than its previous estimate of a 5pc contraction, as the country reels under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ratings firm joins a host of major banks and ratings agencies, which have made deep cuts to their forecasts on India’s economy following a 23.9pc contraction in April-June, as consumer spending, private investments and exports collapsed during one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.

S&P’s latest revision comes three months after it made its projection on India’s real GDP for fiscal 2021.

“While India eased lockdowns in June, we believe the pandemic will continue to restrain economic activity … As long as the virus spread remains uncontained, consumers will be cautious in going out and spending and firms will be under strain,” S&P said in a note.

“The potential for further support monetary support is curbed by India’s inflation worries,” said Vishrut Rana, Asia-Pacific economist for S&P Global Ratings. The Reserve Bank of India has cut policy rates by 115 basis points so far this year.

Retail inflation data, due later in the day, is likely to have stayed above the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target range in August for the fifth straight month, according to a Reuters poll.

India’s high deficit also limits the scope for further fiscal stimulus, S&P added. It expects GDP growth of 6pc in fiscal 2022 and 6.2pc in fiscal 2023.

Moody’s on Friday said it was expecting India’s real GDP to contract by 11.5pc in fiscal 2020.

Moreover, India’s government said it is seeking parliamentary approval to spend 1.67 trillion rupees ($22.8 billion) for the current fiscal year.

India’s federal government sought an additional 466.02 billion rupees to transfer to states and 100 billion rupees more for its food subsidy scheme, the government said in a statement on Monday.

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